I was no different from many young girls, horse daft! So aged six my father took me for lessons at the local riding school and that was the start of a life long passion. Although I suspect my father regretted that decision for some years to come!
My first regular riding school pony was 13.2hh Pedro, breeding unknown. I was seven years old and spent every weekend at the riding school. Mum would pack me off at 9am with my flask of Heinz tomato soup along with corned beef sandwiches a penguin biscuit and a packet of crisps. Come rain hail or shine you would find me at the stables every weekend. We were a happy bunch of kids none of us has safety straps or body protectors or any of the fancy stuff kids have these days, the 70’s were just not like that!
Aged nine I moved to a different riding school where I met my first love, Peggy. This little 12.2hh palomino ball of fluff was as wild as the heather, not a great start to being a riding school pony! She was stubborn, difficult and mareish, she bucked everyone off….. everyone that is except me. I still have one of her shoes painted sliver. The only pony to get me off was Buttons, Buttons was not a popular pony and on the day we were having a bareback lesson I drew the short straw. During the lesson Buttons decided to have a fight with the pony behind this resulted in me being thrown off underneath the feet of the fighting ponies. Lying there with my hands over my head not one hoof touched me, was that luck or the instictive nature that a horse wouldn’t hurt me on purpose?
I have such fond memories of my years at that riding school including the mini pick-up loaded with 8 saddles, bridles, feed buckets, plus 5 kids. Where was health and safety back then? We used to hang out the back of this pick-up whilst it was moving and steal road traffic cones! handy things for a riding school. But as time passed that summer the cones got heavier and heavier. We had been reported and now the council filled the cones with sand… oh those were the days.
At the age of 13 and after three years of working every weekend and every holiday to earn a weekly lesson I was desperate for my own pony. I pestered my Dad a lot but he remained stead fast in his denial of my dream pony. Id pretty much given up and decided a hamster would suffice. Hmmm…To this day I have no idea why I wanted one so asked my father if I could have one, his reply was how about a horse instead!
That was just the beginning…..